London, March 14: Yoga may improve quality of
life in patients suffering from abnormal heart rhythm because it gives
them a method to gain some self control over their symptoms instead of
feeling helples, says a new study.
The researchers examined the
effects of yoga on patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) in
which faulty electrical signals and rapid heart rate begin suddenly and
then stop on their own.
"Many patients with paroxysmal atrial
fibrillation (AF) can't live their lives as they want to -- they refuse
dinners with friends, concerts and travelling - because they are afraid
of an AF episode occurring," said one of the researchers Maria Wahlstrom
from Sophiahemmet University in Sweden.
"AF episodes are
accompanied by chest pain, dyspnoea and dizziness," added Wahlstrom in
the study published in the European journal of cardiovascular nursing.
These symptoms are unpleasant and patients feel anxious, worried and stressed that an AF episode would occur.
AF is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder and has no cure, the researches pointed out.
with paroxysmal AF experience episodes of AF usually lasting less than
48 hours and stop by themselves, although in some patients they can last
up to seven days.
The team included 80 patients with paroxysmal AF who were randomised to yoga or a control group that did not do yoga.
was performed for one hour, once a week, for 12 weeks in the hospital
with an experienced instructor, which included light movements, deep
breathing and meditation.
After 12 weeks, the yoga group had
higher "SF-36" mental health scores, lower heart rate and lower systolic
and diastolic blood pressure than the control group.
that patients who did yoga had a better quality of life, lower heart
rate and lower blood pressure than patients who did not do yoga. The
breathing and movement may have beneficial effects on blood pressure,"
"Patients in the yoga group said it felt good
to let go of their thoughts and just be inside themselves for awhile,"